World View: President Obama Orders American Special Forces into Syria


This morning’s key headlines from

  • Germany to deport thousands of Afghan and Balkans migrants home
  • President Obama orders American special forces into Syria

Germany to deport thousands of Afghan and Balkans migrants home

Refugee father in Aegean Sea scrambles for shore with his son. More than 100 children have drowned in the Aegean over the last two months. (Kathimerini)
Refugee father in Aegean Sea scrambles for shore with his son. More than 100 children have drowned in the Aegean over the last two months. (Kathimerini)

In what appears to be a move of desperation, German officials have announced plans to deport thousands of migrants back to their home countries — especially the Balkan nations and Afghanistan.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have streamed into Europe this year, mainly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, with Germany their ultimate destination because of its more plentiful jobs. The stream of migrants actually seems to be increasing, from 5-6,000 per week last month to 7-8,000 per week now. The migrants arrive in Greece, and travel north through the Balkan nations.

However, the stream of migrants also includes tens of thousands whose home countries are the Balkan nations themselves. These migrants are also dreaming of getting a job in Germany.

Also significant is the number of migrants arriving from Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of translators, construction workers, drivers, bodyguards, cleaning personnel and cooks who worked for the military and international NGOs are now unemployed. Rents and real estate skyrocketed after 2001, when the market was inflated by the wartime economy, but now they have abruptly plunged. The country is in a dramatic downward economic spiral. On Sept. 28, when the Taliban captured the strategically significant provincial city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, many people who had held out started packing their bags. About 3,000 Afghans are now coming into Iran every day illegally. From there, they continue to Turkey, where human smugglers take them to the Greek islands, from which they can cross the Balkans to Northern Europe. The crisis in Afghanistan has already driven millions of refugees into Iran, and the Iranians deport hundreds of illegal Afghan immigrants every day.

The numbers are overwhelming Germany, and are causing fights among Germany’s provinces over how to distribute the migrants. On Wednesday, Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maizière said that many Afghans from relatively safe areas of their country would be sent home:

Large amounts of development aid have gone to Afghanistan [over the last decade] — so we can expect that Afghans stay in their country. So I am saying very clearly today that people who come to us as refugees from Afghanistan cannot all expect to be able to stay in Germany. […]

I expect that in the coming weeks, the number of deportations and of voluntary departures will rise significantly. […] [In addition,] tens of thousands of rejected asylum seekers from the Balkans would have to leave our country.

More and more Europeans are questioning Europe’s open borders policy, and border closings are increasingly common. Some are advocating a return to the days when all borders between European nations were closed. However, one European official says, “It’s not all that sure that we would be able to manage the way we used to, 20 or 30 years ago. Now we have so much in common trade, industry, that if we go back to national domestic borders, it would be a total new landscape and we would need to find totally new ways of managing these borders.” RFERL and Der Spiegel (Germany) and USA Today and NPR

President Obama orders American special forces into Syria

In what appears to be a move of desperation, President Obama reversed his previous declarations, repeated dozens of times, that there would be “no American boots on the ground” in Syria. The Obama administration on Friday announced that 50 Special Operations forces would be deployed to northern Syria, to provide “training and assistance.”

Analysts that I heard said that Obama was forced into the U-turn because Russia and Iran have stolen the initiative in Syria, making the U.S. irrelevant. Politicians on the left criticized Obama’s escalation of the American military involvement, while politicians on the right called it too little too late. Some analysts said the move was pointless because 50 troops can’t accomplish anything. CNN’s military analyst Robert Baer said, “Put in hundreds of thousands of troops, or don’t get in at all.” There were unconfirmed reports that the administration is planning further escalations.

This comes just a month after President Obama’s latest escalation in the American involvement in the Afghanistan war. He had repeatedly declared that America would withdraw long before he left office, but the the withdrawal date was extended several times, and will now extend into the term of the next president. Once again, further escalations may be necessary. ( “29-Sep-15 World View — Afghan Taliban capture of Kunduz has major repercussions for Central Asia”)

I have written many times about the Truman Doctrine, from President Harry Truman in 1947, which made America policeman of the world. The justification is that it is better to have a small military action to stop an ongoing crime than to let it slide and end up having an enormous conflict like World War II. The Truman Doctrine was reaffirmed in President John Kennedy’s “ask not” speech, and every president since WW II has followed the Truman Doctrine, up to and including George Bush. Barack Obama is the first president to repudiate the Truman Doctrine, essentially leaving the world without a policeman. We continue to see what happens to the world when it no longer has a policeman. Washington Post and CNN and Guardian (London)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Germany, Afghanistan, Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Thomas de Maizière, Robert Baer, Harry Truman, Truman Doctrine, John Kennedy
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